Volcano warning issued for Canary Island

Jan-Uwe RonneburgerAAP
La Palma residents in the Canary Islands have been told to prepare to leave if a volcano erupts.
Camera IconLa Palma residents in the Canary Islands have been told to prepare to leave if a volcano erupts. Credit: EPA

On the island of La Palma, part of Spain's Canary Islands, authorities have warned of a possible volcanic eruption after intense seismic activity over the past few days.

The authorities of the island activated the yellow alert level, the second of four levels, the newspaper El Pais reported on Thursday.

People in the south of the small island with about 83,000 residents were told to prepare light luggage along with their mobile phones, important documents and any medication they may need should they have to leave.

Since last Saturday, more than 4200 seismic shocks have been registered in the area of the Cumbre Vieja volcanic chain in the south of the island.

The tremors around the Teneguia volcano are getting stronger and closer to the surface, the National Geographic Institute (IGN) announced.

In addition, the ground had been slightly pushed upwards in some places.

This indicates that magma is accumulating under the Cumbre Vieja.

"We cannot make a short-term forecast. But everything indicates that it will evolve into earthquakes of larger magnitudes that will be more intense and felt by the population," IGN director in the Canary Islands, Maria Jose Blanco, was quoted by El Pais.

The last eruption in La Palma took place in October 1971, when the Teneguia volcano spewed lava for more than three weeks after a crack appeared in the south of the island.

La Palma, unlike the better-known islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and Tenerife, is not a popular tourist destination.

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